Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 3 of 40

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It was colorless, was not home. Yet it was all she could afford. The small apartment on Lawrence Street was on the third level. Mouse traps still littered the floor where the last tenant had left them. Spider webs hung in the windows along with faded curtains. She sat looking at the place sadly. It might have been beautiful once, but now it was nothing more then ripped wallpaper, scratched floors, dust and filth. A hollow shell of what it once had been.just as she felt. She felt lower than low. Her father had brought the last box up the stairs and had set it on the floor beside the old scratched up table they had dug out of the basement for her. He had promised to sand it and repaint it, but she knew that he never would. He would be too busy with Karen and Toby to help her now. She was on her own.

She moved to the window. The glass was filthy, covered in a gray dust. She used her hand to wipe some away so that she could gaze down at her surroundings. The bookstore could be seen from here, as well as most of downtown. The bookstore that she had not been to since that afternoon when Mrs. Miller had allowed her to go home early. She wished that she had never gone home that night. Or she wished that she had taken a cab home, wished that cab could have been hit by a bus or an 18 wheeler so that she would be dead right now. Death was better than this. She was lonely, heart broken, unwanted..Rejected.

Her family had abandoned her in this filthy dump. They had dropped her and her belongings off and then high tailed it out. As far as she was concerned, they were no longer her family. She had a family of one..Herself.

As she glanced around her new 'home', she realized that she didn't even have a phone. She would have to stop by the bookstore, in person, to tell Mrs. Miller where she had been. Why she had skipped work for 3 days. She wasn't sure she wanted to. Maybe she would just stay here and rot. She didn't care anymore..No one else cared. Nothing mattered.

After gazing out the window, she threw herself down in a kitchen chair. It buckled under the sudden weight and collapsed, and she went sprawling onto the floor. She wanted to cry, but she couldn't. She had cried so much that the tears would no longer fall. Frustrated, she kicked at the box by the table, getting very little satisfaction in watching the contents spill all over the pitted linoleum floor. Suddenly, something caught her attention. An envelope and a brown paper package. The things Mrs. Miller had given her 3 days ago. She had forgotten all about them. Someone must have packed them along with her things.

She looked at them for a moment. Then she finally reached over to take them into her hands. She opened the envelope find a check for $500. 'Please humor an old lady. Take this money and put it toward a vacation. ' the little note with the check read. It had been written quickly, no doubt the same afternoon that she had decided to think about a vacation. Sarah's eyes filled with tears. Apparently the well had not gone dry yet. Bless Mrs. Miller's kind heart. She had been wrong. One person did still care.

She glanced at the package that was begging to be opened. She guessed that it was a book by its shape and size. Carefully she untied the ribbon around the paper and finally peeled the paper back and away. She let out a gasp at what she revealed. Not just any book..The Labyrinth. Not just any Labyrinth book.her Labyrinth book. A slip of paper fell from the pages of the book and Sarah picked it up, opening it and reading it.

I found this delightful book at a yard sale when I went book hunting. It is not in new condition, as you can see. Apparently, it was well loved by its' original owner. I thought it might be my job to return it to her. Love Mrs. M.

Fresh tears began to stream down her cheeks. She ran her fingers over the raised golden letters of the title and then clutched the book to her chest. Memories flooded her mind. The Labyrinth, Hoggle, Ludo, Sir Didymus, even the Goblin King.

She pulled the book away from her and glanced at it again in disbelief. She owed Mrs. Miller a great deal, for she had brought some happiness into her life again. A piece of her childhood had been given back to her. Some light now shone into the darkness in her life. She opened the cover, glancing at the pages, reading the words she had known by heart as a teenager. Smiling happily, she closed the book and pulled it to her chest.

"I wish I could see my friends again."she whispered softly, tears still streaming down her cheeks. She suddenly remembered the party in her old room. Everyone had been there, except him. She allowed a grin, unable to contain her joy about the money and her favorite childhood novel. "I even wish I could see the Goblin King again." She laughed.

She got up off the floor, dusting the dirt and filth from her pants. She couldn't stop grinning as she grabbed her new apartment keys her Labyrinth book to her chest. She needed to thank Mrs. M. The older woman had given her an incredible gift. A piece of her childhood, and happiness in a time when it was needed the most. The check was nice, of course.but money would come and go. Her memories in the Labyrinth were meant to be eternal. The book had already helped to jog her memory. Images of her friends and her adventure filled her mind and she felt refreshed. She began whistling a song as she grabbed her purse.

She approached the door, ready to leave, when a wind picked up. A familiar wind. A wind that should not have been there, because the windows were closed. She remained facing the door and shivered at the coldness that swept over her. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.

"I'm going to turn around and nothing will be there." She told herself.

"Nothing, you say? You know better than that, Sarah."

Sarah froze. That voice.oh god. She knew that voice. She turned slowly and her eyes widened.

There on the far side of the room stood the Goblin King. He was dressed all in black. His silky blond hair drifted around him in the wind and his cape billowed behind him. He was tugging at his black gloves. Sarah watched him, totally mesmerized by the being who stood before her. A being she thought that she would never see again and one she had called upon accidentally, for a second time.

Her eyes roamed over his form. She had not realized when she was a teenager how handsome he was. In a strange but exotic way. He'd yet to look at her, busying himself with his own appearance, so she studied him carefully. From the top of his wild blond hair, to his black knee high boots. He was stunning.He was much more incredible then she remembered as a teenager. Her eyes met his suddenly and she felt herself blush fiercely. His eyes.they seemed to see into her soul. She took a deep breath and got herself together. After all, handsome meant nothing when you had the personality of an arrogant, cold Goblin King.

"What's the matter, dear Sarah? Embarrassed, because you like what you see?" he teased.

"Don't flatter yourself." She spit coldly. He was a man like any other.

He grinned at her and walked toward her, his hands on his slender hips. "I must say that this is quite a surprise..You summoning me and all."

"I didn't-" he shot her a look and she realized that she had indeed summoned him. "I summoned my friends first." She told him.

"Ah yes, your friends."

"Where are they?"

He went back to toying with his gloves. "In the Labyrinth, of course." He seemed bored with the conversation.

"Can.can I see them?" She stuttered, hating herself for becoming nervous and rattled by his presence.

"Why do you want to see them?" his eyes fell upon her now and she had to look away. His stare was too intense for her.

"Because I do.because I miss them. I haven't seen them in years." She countered lamely.

'Perhaps you wish to see them because of your current predicament?" he glanced around in disgust at her dingy environment.

She crossed her arms over her chest, raising her chin defiantly at him. "What does my reason for seeing them matter to you? I want to see them."

"And what of me?" he inquired.

"What of you?"

An eyebrow arched delicately. "You called me as well, dear Sarah." He let the comment slide when she did not reply and he walked around the kitchen, hands clenched behind his back. "What do YOU want?" Pure bitterness.

"I want to see my friends." She started boldly.

He grinned devilishly and it made her weak in the knees. He was arrogant, snobby, but she couldn't deny him his beauty.something she had not truly noticed or remembered from her youth. Most of her memories of him were as a cruel enemy in a race against time.

"I meant.what do you want with me?" His words broke her out of her thoughts. He was suddenly very close to her and his presence unnerved her. He saw this and grinned, tilting his head and gazing at her down the length of his nose. The way that he looked at her was more unnerving then his presence. Did he realize how incredibly handsome he was? Of course he knew that. He was flaunting himself in front of her.

She suddenly pushed him away. A brow rose while a surprised, but insolent grin tugged at the corner of his mouth. She was still unpredictable. He had not taken his eyes off of her, allowing them to roam over her form. She had thinned out, and was even taller then he remembered. Her hair was longer, still dark and straight, and her hazel eyes were enchanting. He could not deny that she was beautiful. no matter how bitter he was with her..

"I.I.I don't want anything to do with you!" She told him, backing herself into a corner. He tilted his head as he watched her, pursing his lips. She was different. Something about her was different. She was older now..she should not be afraid of him. Yet he saw fear in her eyes. The Sarah he remembered did not show fear. She was determined, relentless. Yet before him he gazed into the eyes of a woman who bore scars. Emotional scars..and fear that she was desperately trying to hide from him.

He stepped away from her, but did not allow it to look as if it were a retreat on his part. "Obviously you wanted something from me. You called me." Complete coolness.

She gathered herself quickly. She wasn't about to let this pompous man get the better of her. She didn't care how handsome he was. He was a jerk like all the other men she knew. "I wanted to see my friends."

"Yes, you said that. But you could have done that all on your own."

"I've called them many times and they never come."

"Perhaps they don't want to come."

"Or perhaps you won't let them!" she accused harshly.

"I let your behavior slide when we last met, do not assume to believe that I will be so accommodating this time around." He told her, his tone icy. He turned, his cape whipping around him and she realized that he was unnerved. He saw her as a threat, perhaps even an equal. She could use that to her advantage. She had beaten him at his games before.

He paced a few steps and then picked up his head quickly, staring directly into her eyes. "So you want me to bring you to your friends?"

She felt courage which she had not felt in years, resurface. What was it about the thought of denying the Goblin King that made her feel strong and brave? What the hell, he was here, she wanted to see her friends. "Yes."

"You must realize that I will not do this without payment. I don't grant wishes or favors."

"You can't have my brother." She told him immediately.

Jareth chuckled, the sound low and deep in his throat. For a moment Sarah froze. "Who said anything about your brother?" his mismatched eyes were amused as they fell upon her form.

'I know you, I know what you want."

'You know nothing about me, except for what you presume to know." He shot back.

"Fine, then what do you want as payment? Name your price."

He grinned, suddenly enjoying her rebellious behavior. He leaned against the edge of a tattered couch that was covered with a sheet. "Why do you wish to see your friends?"

"That's none of your business."

"It's my realm, my kingdom. I wish to know your reason for passing into it." He crossed his arms over his chest.

"I." She glanced around. She knew she had not meant to call the Goblin King. She was so excited about her book that the wish had come tumbling forth. Deep down inside, the thought of seeing the Goblin King was exciting, but frightening. And she wanted to see her friends. Dear Hoggle, Ludo and brave Didymus. She had not much to anchor her in her world right now. A vacation to the Labyrinth was what she needed. Even Mrs. Miller had suggested she take one. She smiled and the Goblin King stared at her curiously.

"I wish to take a vacation and visit with my friends while I am there."

"A vacation?" he repeated.



"Yeah, truly exciting." She told him sarcastically. " When can we go? I don't want to miss too many days of work."

"SO impatient." he purred. "I've not yet told you what I wish your payment to be."

"But you just.- your questions."

"You offered that information all on your own, sweet Sarah." She realized that she had. He stood. Appearing straight and tall, quite intimidating and devastatingly handsome. "These are my terms: You will be welcome to 'vacation' within the Labyrinth and to see your friends, but while you are there you must stay at my castle as my guest."

"What?" She shook her head. ' way." There was no way in hell she was going to stay in his castle. No way she was going to deal with his arrogant, stuck up, manipulating behavior while she as on vacation!

"If you don't really want to 'vacation' then, your loss." He was tugging at his gloves again.

She really needed this vacation. Really needed to find herself again. Her friends might be able to help her out. She swallowed. "Stay in your castle.and that's all?"

"One more thing."

"How did I know that it wouldn't be that simple?" She put her arms over her chest, clearly annoyed.

He grinned devilishly. "I will be your guide." She opened her mouth to protest and he held up a gloved finger. "Should you want to travel the labyrinth, you will need a guide. It's changed since you last walked through it. Your friends are welcome to visit you at the castle and the surrounding gardens and courtyards, but should you wish to journey outward, I must be present."

She rolled her eyes. "So this is like going on vacation with a parent!"

"Not a parent, don't insult me. A guide. You will be trespassing in my domain."

"You said that already." She crossed her arms over her chest again.

"And seeing as it is my domain, the rules state that you must enter as my guest, even though we might not be spending a lot of time together."

'You got that right." She shot back.

A look of hurt passed over his face for a moment and Sarah felt badly. His arrogant mask immediately slid back into place. "You can take my offer or leave it. I am unfortunately bound to hospitality, should I allow you to enter my realm as an adult. The least you can do is comply."

"Bound to hospitality."

He nodded, his blond hair falling to frame his pale face. "I am bound to obey rules just as you are, Sarah."

"Is that why you came to me again? Was that also part of the rules?"

He seemed annoyed and unnerved by her line of questioning. "Something like that." He spit bitterly.


He sighed. This was getting annoying. "That's the way it's done and the way it's been done for centuries. I may not like the rules, but I must obey them. Now, I haven't got all day. The goblins are probably rearranging my castle by now."

She laughed and covered her mouth with her hand after doing so.

"You find that amusing?" he asked in an annoyed tone.

She nodded, allowing another laugh to escape her lips. She could picture his goblins running wild in his castle, destroying the place. And didn't he realize that he had made a joke? He gave her a harsh stare and her smile faded. It had seemed funny at the time.

"What will it be? Stay here in this filthy dump you've made for yourself or be a guest at my castle and 'vacation' with your friends?"

"That would be going from one filthy dump to another, the way you let your goblins run loose all over the place."

He stepped close to her, his warm breath on her cheek. He looked very angry. "Perhaps I should just leave you here, to rot in this foul place where no one seems to give a damn about you. Perhaps I should deny your request and never answer you again."

'No.please." a whimper. God had she just whimpered to him?

His expression softened somewhat at her tone of voice and he stepped back, allowing space between them. They stared at one another for a few moments. He knew deep down that he wouldn't really leave her here, despite all the risks of bringing her back. In fact, to his annoyance, he realized that he could deny her nothing. Was that also part of the rules? That he had to act on her every whim? No.he knew better than that. She had merely captivated him many years ago, that was all. But as he stood, taking in her beautiful form, he realized that she still captivated him to a certain degree. She was beautiful and cruel, just like him. He shook the thoughts from his mind. Things would change. The Goblin King would not remain captivated or infatuated by a young mortal woman. The cycle would end.

She stepped closer to him. "I agree to your terms. I will be a guest at your castle and you will be my guide to the Labyrinth should I wish to travel it. In exchange for you bringing me to see my friends."

He nodded slowly. "Agreed." And then extended a gloved hand. She backed away from him. "I don't bite." He teased.

"And I don't trust you." she countered. He looked hurt again.strange.It was uncharacteristic for what she knew of him. "Trust has to be earned.' She told him. "You haven't earned mine yet.I trust you as far as I can throw you, and that isn't very far."

The arrogance was back yet again. "Well then, I suppose I'll have to change that."

"I'd prefer if you didn't. I don't want anything to do with you while I'm in the Labyrinth."

The Goblin King frowned and the frown stayed for more then a moment. He looked genuinely hurt at her words. The words escaped from his lips before he could stop them. "Do you hate me that much.that you would not even attempt to trust me?"

She sighed. "I don't hate you. I am just leery to place trust in someone who I haven't seen in 8 years. Someone I never trusted in the first place."

The Goblin King said nothing in reply, and this worried Sarah. He usually bounced back at her with insults, smart comments. Yet there he stood, in her grimy kitchen, looking like a lost child.

"I'm sorry." She apologized immediately. Damn, what was that he had told her years ago? That she was cruel, or that her eyes were cruel? Perhaps she was cruel."I.I'll make an effort, but I don't promise anything."

"I don't expect you to." Coolness in his voice again. He offered a gloved hand to her again.

"I'm not ready to go just yet." She told him, shaking her head. 'There is something I have to do first."

He nodded, stepping back from her. "Wish to see me again, and I shall appear."

She nodded and watched as he faded from her eyes, disappearing in a swirl of glitter.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 3 of 40

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